Senior Congress MP from Guntur Rayapati Sambasiva Rao has said he will resign from the party and give up his seat in Parliament in protest against the Congress Working Committee's recommendation to the Centre last evening that India's 29th state, Telangana, be created by taking 10 districts out of Andhra Pradesh. (Read more)
Mummidivaram MLA has also confirmed that he has sent his resignation. According to sources, at least half a dozen MLAs and some more MPs from Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra regions might also resign in protest. Many of them will meet Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy to decide their final stand today. "We are drinking poison for the sake of the Congress," said Rudraraju Padmaraju, the chief whip of the Congress in the Andhra Pradesh legislative council. But he also conceded that resigning from the state legislature will only benefit the opposition.(Full coverage)
Mr Reddy met ministers in his state this morning and reportedly told them that the decision to bifurcate Telangana was "painful for me also." He however added that they now need to look at the road ahead.
Today's bandh has been called by the United Andhra Joint Action Committee. Schools, colleges and business establishments are closed across the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, collectively referred to as Seemandhra. State transport buses are not plying.
A big concern is the status of Hyderabad, which, the Congress suggests, will be a common capital of the two states for 10 years, after which it will be part of Telangana and the other state will get its own capital. (Telangana: Happy TRS seeks clarity on status of Hyderabad)
People in the Rayalaseema region worry that if the bustling IT city is lost in the bifurcation, they will be set back by several years economically. Students in places like Tirupati say they are worried about where they will go to study and work if Hyderabad becomes part of a different state.
Telangana, the largest of the three regions in Andhra Pradesh, contributes more than 60 per cent to the state's revenue and is home to 40 per cent of its population. In comparison, Coastal Andhra accounts for 14 per cent of the state's earnings; Rayalaseema brings in just four per cent.
Over the next few months, the Centre will ensure that the concerns of the residents of Telangana and Seemandhra are addressed and resolved within "a specified time frame". The focus will be on how to distribute resources like water, electricity and revenue between the old and new states.
Of Andhra Pradesh's 42 parliamentary seats, almost half lie in Telangana; by acquiescing to popular sentiment, the Congress is hoping for a windfall in the national elections, now just months away.
The Telangana Rashtriya samiti or TRS, headed by K. Chandrasekhara Rao or KCR who has spearheaded the demand for Telangana in recent years, has welcomed yesterday's decision, but said it wants more clarity on the status of Hyderabad as a common capital for 10 years. KCR also said that his party would wait for Parliament to approve the decision before celebrating.